May 30, 2012

Sometimes a girl has to vent.
This is how I feel after my second full day at the clinic this week. Do I mind you doing that to me? Heck yes, but if you have to.....

May 29, 2012

Today I was having another MRI to check the progress of my MS. Or should I say regress. After a good stretch, once again things are acting up. Lying in a narrow tube while it sounds like a pneumatic drill hammering through your brain for an hour while you do not move a muscle isn't much fun. I am trying not to worry too much about the outcome, but I do feel nervous. I have been using distraction, but now I am too tired so I will just wait.

May 24, 2012

My backyard chicken eggs vs a white factory egg. Its a no brainer.

My new Buff Orpington

Partridge Plymouth Rock

This was taken in March and they are now enjoying the outdoors and growing fast.
My chicken, Mary Margaret. She sadly met her demise when she met a fox.
She had taken herself off for a walk in the woods without permission

May 23, 2012

Recently I was in Holland with my husband on a work related trip, but we did get a day off and went to Delft. It is a beautiful town and is where Vermeer, the artist lived ('The girl with the pearl earing' -, ). We enjoyed an exhibit that explained his life and works and also had a demonstration of his painting methods, including his use of light. Here I am having fun with a setup they provided. Light makes such a difference to our perspective.

In Delft we also visited the cathedral where the dutch monarchs are buried. It was stark and bright with no ornamentation. Interestingly the pulpit was in the middle of the church and the seating was arranged in a semi circle. The pews were like none other that I had seen. They sloped down, each row being slightly lower than the last so that people could see over the heads in front. By contrast we also went to England to see family in Chester and we visited the cathedral there. It is also beautiful but as it was Anglican and less reformed, it was darker with stained glass and reddish stone and it had a much heavier feel. It did have a greater sense of mystery which I like, having grown up Anglican, but now that I attend a Presbyterian church the Dutch one appealed also.

May 22, 2012

Sometimes I dream of sailing away with my love.
Today I realized why I was getting frustrated. That is apart from the fact that my fridge died and I lost all my food and that my MS was flaring up.  These explain the surface exasperation, but underneath there is something else. I don't know if others with MS feel this way, but I finally figured out that my identity and my imagination along with my dreams do not fit into the limitations that constrain my daily life. MS can feel like a straight jacket when I can't dig out the weeds, do things in the sun, keep running up and down the stairs to do laundry, go out at night, go shopping without a lot of effort. Not to mention the bigger dreams that I harbour. MS keeps making me feel like I am not 'me'.

I think there is an appropriate anger with all this and I like to think that God doesn't like it either. It just isn't the way things should be. But as I write I am pricked with the memory of moments when the limitations have brought relief. When I am let off the hook and find others jumping in to help me out.  But MS just doesn't fit right, like a pair of jeans that is too tight. Thankfully my husband is already replacing the fridge and I got a hand with the shopping and clean up. All is not lost.
Life with multiple sclerosis - dreams cannot be chained

May 15, 2012

What lurks under the surface

This is Shoal Bay in Australia. My family likes to vacation here and it certainly feels and looks idyllic. However after many years of enjoying this place, with nieces swimming here most years, we have now discovered that underneath that azure water lies something sinister. We have now found out as a result of seeing a special on great white sharks off the coast of Australia, that this is where they live. Most of them hang out here for much of the year. "In this area they spend a significant amount of time in the surf zone in water depths of 1-5 metres where they are readily observable and frequently encountered by the public. This location in Port Stephens is one of only two known nursery areas for white sharks on the east Australian coast".
We won't be swimming here again. We now know better.
It seems like there are a few things in life like this where looks can be very deceiving. Sometimes we need an authority to point out what lies beneath the surface in order to be safe and wise.

May 12, 2012

Time is the great equalizer of all things. We each get the same length of time each day, and each day has the same number of hours. Second, by minute, by hour, by day, by month, by year, time does not change according to our whim. Some days feel like they drag, they stretch out as we procrastinate or wait for something longed for. The week before a child’s birthday or the month before Christmas to a child can feel like eternity. For the adult, though, the month before Christmas whizzes by as we find our preparations never nearly have enough hours. The older I get, I am finding that the years are starting to fly by as I hover with my pen, forgetting what to write on the check and marveling that I need to write a different year, yet again. Sometimes I even forget my age. But no matter how I experience it, a minute is still a minute.

But why is it that the computer and my microwave give me the greatest experience of impatience? A minute in the microwave is an eternity, and waiting for the laptop to fire up has me frustrated in 3 seconds. I guess time can be unreasonable, because of course it isn’t me that’s the problem. Thanks to Einstein maybe we can just chalk it up to all being relative.

At the end of the day, I have to remember that patience is a virtue and to turn again to the one who is infinitely patient with me and ask him for his help to be patient and to trust him while waiting. He is at work even if we don’t see it and his timing is perfect.

May 11, 2012

I find that remembering how to live with balance takes constant stopping, thinking and monitoring until the balance becomes automatic. At L’Abri, students are often helped significantly just by the routine alone. So often they comment on how helpful the routine is and yet I often forget its lessons for myself. It often seems too daunting to get up and go swimming, even though I love it and know how great it will make me feel. It feels as though shifting the direction from what I am doing now, to doing something different takes the most energy. Really, how hard is it to get up and turn off the TV? How hard to get changed into swimming clothes and go out? How hard to go upstairs and clean my office? Once momentum is gained, how hard is it to stop? How hard it is to be quiet when we are used to noise? How hard to call someone Ihaven’t spoken to for a while?“I’ve been meaning to call for ages.” How hard is it to talk to God, to hear from him when we are busy?

This is the beauty of routine.Routine helps us move from one thing to the next without too much effort. Actions become habits and eventually the act of doing things becomes automatic without much energy of though or decision making. Decisions alone take a lot of energy and habits free us from that.But of course we can have both good and bad habits, we can have the habit of not going to bed when we should, of not turning off the TV, of eating poorly etc. ( this book explains the diffence between thoughtfulness taking real effort and energy versus automatic thoughts that are much easier but not always accurate.)

Developing good habits is something that I find difficult to do. Too often it feels like a rule or constraint, as though my freedom is curtailed, and this is the challenge I am still learning.The lesson of good habits that are freeing, and not a form legalism which is constraining. Habits can give us energy, healthy lifestyles and emotional health to free us up, while on the other hand rules that we can’t break are fed by fear and thoughtlessness and addictions.

So now after writing these musings, I have a choice, am I going to make a habit of writing, a rule of writing or forget about it?We will see.

May 9, 2012

I was just thinking about how hard it is to keep all the people that I care for in mind. I even find family and friends who are close to me difficult to do justice to. Never mind all the new people at church that I do not know, or the ones that I do know and wish I knew better. So often it is the immediate demands that consume my energy, what little of it I do have left. It also seems that I get tired on many fronts. There are different kinds of energy; emotional, physical, and mental. There are many ways with which I can feel tired, and they bleed into each other. Feeling emotionally exhausted leaves me feeling physically and mentally exhausted. When I am  physically tired, I have no emotional energy. It is so hard to know what is causing the problem. I often just know I feel bad. I can hardly get off the sofa, my husband is making me mad and I just don’t what to think about all the problems that are niggling at the back of my mind.